In my earlier musings on the character of my fellow columnist, I left out one other abiding impression from our time at The Economist. It really is a big mistake to get into a prolonged argument with Clive. Once riled he is relentless. The conversation will only end when Clive has nailed your head to the floor (figuratively speaking, obviously).

So I’m going to accept his invitation. Let’s call it quits. History can judge whether Obama is an orator to be ranked alongside King, Kennedy at el. But I think we should take a broad view of what history means. Let’s wait at least 200 years before we form a definitive judgement.

While we’re waiting, can I offer some short-term predictions. Obama will win the nomination. Obama will win the presidency. Obama will then deliver an inaugural speech that is so brilliant and moving, that even I will be reduced to tears (without the assistance of an onion.) And within 18 months Clive Crook and many of Obama’s former fans will be bitterly disappointed – so it will be left to me to argue that he’s not so bad really.

Meanwhile, I was amused by this analysis of my relationship with my present and former colleague that appeared on the comments section of the Crook blog:

“We see here a true example of the psychological anguish caused by managers. Clearly Mr Rachman feels what he feels. He believes, and clearly has believed for many years, that Mr Crook lacks sentimentality. Mr Crook apprently never noticed – or preferred not to notice. He replies that “I was universally regarded as a complete softy”.. This shows that first Mr Crook refuses to believe Mr Rachman feels what he says he feels. Secondly, he is in effect saying that there is something ‘wrong’ about Mr Rachman thinking like this – as it is going against the views of everyone else (although we have to take Mr Crook’s word everyone else thinks he is a softy.) “

Wow. There is much more where that came from. But the thing is that I regard the word “unsentimental” as a compliment. I would be disappointed by any suggestion that Crook had gone soft. Fortunately – to judge by his reaction to my reaction to his reaction – I need have no fears on that’s score.

Update: link to the comment is fixed – thanks RCS.

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